Old English Mastiff


Mastiff (Old English Mastiff) is one of the heaviest large dog breeds in the world. The Mastiff has descended from giant, mastiff-type dogs brought to Britain by Phoenician traders in the 6th century BC.

The Britons crossbred these giant mastiff dogs with local fighting dogs and used the resulting canines to hunt wolves and later as combatants in bear, lion and bull-baiting competitions. When the Romans arrived in Britain, they were so impressed with the mighty dogs that they took them back to their arenas in Rome. Two World Wars dealt harshly with the Mastiff breed in Britain and there are more Mastiffs in the U.S. than there are in the country of origin.

Mastiff - Old english mastiff

Old English Mastiff Temperament

The calm and gentle Mastiff looks dignified at first glance, but beneath that noble expression lies a strong sense of humor just waiting to come out. He is affectionate with his family and always wants to be with them, but he doesn’t constantly demand attention. It’s enough for him to lie by their feet, lean against them and follow them from room to room, always there to make sure everyone is safe. If given half a chance, your Mastiff will snuggle with you on the sofa, doing his best imitation of a lap dog.

Mastiffs are gentle with children and other animals, wanting only to take care of them. They are famous for having a soft mouth or the ability to carry things like kittens and squirrels without damaging them.

Old English Mastiff Size

Height: Dogs, minimum 30 inches (76 cm) at the shoulder; bitches, minimum 27-1/2 inches (70 cm) at the shoulder. Weight: Males about 160 pounds (72 kg) Females about 150 pounds (68 kg) One of the heaviest breeds, a male Mastiff can exceed 200 pounds.

Is the Mastiff a good guard dog? Are Mastiffs aggressive?

Though the Mastiff is a gentle giant, he is protective and territorial. The Old English Mastiff barks a big, deep, scary bark when strangers approach and does not give up guarding until he has been introduced to the person and assured that he or she is welcome. Mastiffs are not ideal guard dogs but they very effectively prevent intruders from entering the premises. Also, by nature, a Mastiff is friendly but aloof toward other dogs.

Are Mastiffs lazy? Active? Can Mastiffs swim?

A Mastiff is happy to go on 2 walks a day for about 15-20 minutes. Some may occasionally hike and swim. Mastiffs do not like to run. They will not jog with you and should not be asked to as it can be very difficult on their joints.

Is English Mastiff the largest dog breed?

English Mastiff is the heaviest dog breed. Irish Wolfhounds and Great Danes are the tallest. Please see the list of largest dog breeds for all extra large breeds info.

General Appearance: Large, massive, symmetrical, and well-knit frame. A combination of grandeur and good nature, courage and docility.

Aicama Zorba worlds biggest dog

Aicama Zorba world’s heaviest dog

The greatest weight ever recorded for a dog, 343 pounds (155.6 kg), was that of an English Mastiff from England named Aicama Zorba of La Susa.

Coat: Outer coat moderately coarse. Undercoat dense, short, and close lying.

Do Mastiffs shed?

Mastiffs have an easy-care coat, but they do shed heavily.

Old English Mastiff Colors

Old English Mastiff colors

Apricot, silver fawn or dark fawn brindle. Fawn-brindle should have fawn as a background color which should be completely covered with very dark stripes. In any case, muzzle, ears, and nose must be dark in color, the blacker the better, with similar color tone around the orbits, extending upwards between them.

Mastiff - Old English


Choosing a good Mastiff puppy

Definition of the best Mastiff puppy depends on your requirements. Your expectations from an adult Old English Mastiff can be broadly categorized as follows: Confirmation for show or breeding; Obedience; Guard dog; Homely Pet.

Although it is tempting to look for all these quality in the one puppy you are planning to buy, it is almost never possible to find all qualities in a single pup.

If you want your Mastiff puppy to grow up to be a champion, you should look for confirmation to breed standards. Physical construction, head, proportions, bite, etc are all a priority over temperament. Look for the following characteristics while choosing a puppy.

Mastiff’s Head: In general outline giving a massive appearance when viewed from any angle. Breadth greatly to be desired. Skull: broad and somewhat rounded between the ears, forehead slightly curved, showing marked wrinkles which are particularly distinctive when at attention. Brows (superciliary ridges) moderately raised. Muscles of the temples well developed, those of the cheeks extremely powerful. Arch across the skull a flattened curve with a furrow up the center of the forehead. This extends from between the eyes to halfway up the skull.

Old English Mastiff head

Old English Mastiff head

Mastiff Muzzle: short, broad under the eyes and running nearly equal in width to the end of the nose. Truncated, i.e., blunt and cut off square, thus forming a right angle with the upper line of the face. Of great depth from the point of the nose to underjaw. Underjaw broad to the end and slightly rounded. Lips diverging at obtuse angles with the septum and sufficiently pendulous so as to show a modified square profile. Muzzle dark in color, the blacker the better. The muzzle should be half the length of the skull, thus dividing the head into three parts – one for the foreface and two for the skull. In other words, the distance from the tip of nose to stop is equal to one-half the distance between the stop and the occiput. The circumference of the muzzle (measured midway between the eyes and nose) to that of the head (measured before the ears) as 3 is to 5.

Old English Mastiff mom with puppy

Mastiff with pup

Mastiff Nose: broad and always dark in color, the blacker the better, with the spread, flat nostrils (not pointed or turned up) in profile.

Mastiff Mouth: canine teeth healthy, powerful and wide apart. Scissors bite preferred but a moderately undershot jaw permissible providing the teeth are not visible when the mouth is closed.

Mastiff Eyes: set wide apart, medium in size, never too prominent. Expression alert but kindly. The stop between the eyes well marked but not too abrupt. Colour of eyes brown, the darker the better and showing no haw.

Mastiff Ears: small, V-shaped, rounded at the tips. Leather moderately thin, set widely apart at the highest points on the sides of the skull continuing the outline across the summit. They should lie close to the cheeks when in repose. Ears dark in color, the blacker the better, conforming to the color of the muzzle.

Mastiff’s Neck: Powerful and very muscular, slightly arched, and of medium length. The neck gradually increases in circumference as it approaches the shoulder. Neck moderately “dry” (not showing an excess of loose skin).

Old English Mastiff Puppy

Mastiff Puppy

Forequarters: Shoulder slightly sloping, heavy and muscular. No loose shoulders. Legs straight, strong and set wide apart – heavy bones. Elbows parallel to the body. Pasterns strong and bent only slightly. Feet heavy, round and compact with well-arched toes. Black nails preferred.

Old English Mastiff Forequarters

Body: Back muscular, powerful, and straight. Chest wide, deep, rounded, and well let down between the forelegs, extending at least to the elbow. Forechest should be deep and well defined. Ribs extremely well rounded. False ribs deep and well set back. Loins wide and muscular, slightly rounded over the rump. There should be a reasonable cut-up.

Hindquarters: Hindquarters broad, wide and muscular. Second thighs well developed, hocks set back, wide apart and parallel when viewed from the rear.

Tail: Set on moderately high and reaching to the hocks or a little below. Wide at the root, tapering to the end, hanging straight in repose, forming a slight curve but never over the back when the dog is in action.

Old English Mastiff puppies

Old English Mastiff puppies

How much does an English Mastiff cost?

Mastiff puppies are not cheap. English mastiff puppies are for sale from $500 to $5,000 for one puppy, though the price from a reputable breeder will average in the $1,800 to $2,500 range.

How much does it cost to maintain an Old English Mastiff?

A Mastiff will cost about ($100 for food per month) + vet bills + other costs.

How long does an Old English Mastiff live?

Mastiffs can live for 8 to 14 years – average life span is 10 to 12 years.

Link: Old English Mastiff clubs: UK; USA